Guest blog by Craig McKenzie
(Twitter @Nemesis4909 and @KneelBeforeBlog)
Kneel Before Blog
Star Trek has been a big part of my life as long as I can remember. From a young age I was indoctrinated into the franchise by family through prolonged exposure in early life. As time went on, I developed my own appreciation and my fandom evolved along lines that would make it personal to me.
Many fans can talk about how Star Trek has brought them comfort during times of their life where they felt sad, overwhelmed, isolated and any other less than positive feelings. That has certainly been the case for me, however, it has also been there through the best times of my life. No matter what is going on in my life, there is a Star Trek episode or film that will compliment it. I’ll always be grateful that the franchise exists and it will always be there when I need it.
It’s impossible to boil down something so personally influential to a single episode, event or character, but I did recently have something stand out to me as a great example of how the franchise makes me feel. It’s a moment right at the end of the Enterprise season four episode “United” where Archer, Shran and the Tellarite Gral are in Enterprise’s conference room discussing the recent escape of the Romulan ship. Earlier in the episode, Archer managed to bring together Vulcan, Tellarite and Andorian resources to hunt down the Romulan ship. It’s the first chronological example of cross-species cooperation in pursuit of a common goal and the experience proves to be inspiring for all present. Up until this point, the Andorians and Tellarites had been constantly antagonistic towards one another but the success achieved from working together changes that mindset for them in this moment.
Gral is the one to offer that they have more to discuss than trade disputes and Archer replies with “Why wait until we get to Babel?” The camera pans out of the conference room to show Enterprise surrounded by vessels belonging to the other races. Enterprise was often criticised for being of poor quality, but in its final season it really turned things around and concentrated on being a true prequel. To me, this moment exemplified fundamental aspects of the franchise and sent a strong message about overcoming differences in the spirit of cooperation. The moment was earned, because of the focus on highlighting the conflicts at play to make it all the more satisfying when those differences were tossed aside in favour of starting to communicate.
The franchise is full of similar moments where people of different backgrounds realise that there is strength in working together rather than wasting energy concentrating on what divides them. It’s a consistently inspirational message and the wealth of content promoting it only serves to highlight how important that is. The “United” example resonates so powerfully with me because it is framed as an epic moment that is the first true step towards the Federation. Out of conflict comes cooperation and everyone in that room recognises the value that the others bring. It’s relatively understated as well, with only a few words spoken to get the point across. It speaks for itself and the legacy it leaves behind is immediately obvious to those watching.
For me, Star Trek represents hope. It’s hope for a better future, hope that we can unite as a species to build an inclusive society devoted to constant improvement, hope that people can be fully accepting of the wonderful variety that others have to offer and hope that there is light to be found in the darkest circumstances. The franchise tells us that we all have to take responsibility for creating that hope and if my exposure to it has made me a better person, its importance cannot be overstated.
Guest blogs represent the views of the guest blogger.